• Cash flow,  Employee Benefits,  Savings

    Is an HSA Right for Me?

    Many people sign up for a high deductible healthcare plan (HDHP) either at work on the exchange but don’t realize that these healthcare plans work best when paired with a healthcare savings account (HSA). An HSA is triple tax-preferred. What the heck does that mean? You can take a deduction against your income on your taxes or make pre-tax contributions through your payroll provider. Money contributed to an HSA grows tax-free while inside the HSA. Money withdrawn for qualified medical expenses (as defined by the IRS) is tax-free. Want to know more about the mechanics of an HSA? I wrote an article for Richmond Family Magazine that explains HSAs. Important side…

  • Cash flow,  Employee Benefits,  Investing

    Hidden 401(k) Loan Risks to Your Career and Finances

    Getting hit with a cash crunch is stressful. What should you do if you need quick access to cash? For many of us who have been working and saving in our 401(k)s, that pot of money can be very tempting. Let’s be honest - 401(k) loans can be relatively cheap and easy to get. They’re kind of like the fast food version of loans. And just like fast food, 401(k) loans can seem like a good idea at first, but they can quickly lead to heartburn.   What you really need to know: there are some serious risks involved with tapping a 401(k).   There are two major risks you…

  • Employee Benefits

    Do you have kids? Do you have an FSA?

    Fee-Only CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Practitioner Lauren Zangardi Haynes Holy cow, medical expenses can eat you alive when you have kids! A lot of people feel nervous about using the flexible spending account that their employer offers. I love flexible spending accounts as a way to save for your ongoing medical expenses with pre-tax dollars. They work really well if you have certain medical expenses you always need - such as contact lenses or a monthly prescription. Or if you have kids who always seem to need random medical care... While these aren't designed as long-term savings vehicles some employers do allow you to roll-over a small amount of money from…

  • Employee Benefits,  Kids and Money

    Dependent Care FSAs: The Employee Benefit Parents Shouldn’t Skip

    Do you have a kid under 13? Do you pay someone to watch them so you (and your spouse) can work? You may be eligible for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (this is separate from your Healthcare Flexible Spending Account ). Childcare is a huge drain on many families’ budget but few families seem to know about or take advantage of this employee benefit. In this post we will go over the who, what, why, and how of Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts so you can make the best decision for your family and possibly save some serious money. What is a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account? OK, first,…

  • Employee Benefits,  Investing,  Retirement,  Savings

    The Roth 401(k): 8 Things You Need To Know

    The Roth 401(k) is a retirement plan option that is becoming increasingly popular. It’s similar to the Roth IRA in that it allows you to save after-tax money in a retirement account. Also like the Roth IRA, the money grows tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement. This can be an awesome opportunity to allow your retirement money to grow tax-free and then be withdrawn tax-free after age 59 ½. 1. Why Should I save money in a Roth (k)? There are four big draws for a Roth 401(k) Withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) are tax-free. (Awesome!) You don’t pay any taxes on capital gains or interest on money…

  • Employee Benefits,  Savings

    Can An HSA or FSA Save You Money?

    Recently a friend asked me if she should participate in her employer’s Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Signing up for employee benefits can be very confusing. Especially if you are trying to figure out your 401k, HSA, HDHP, FSA and DSA. What the heck does all of that mean? In this post we will explore the Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) and the Flexible Spending Account (FSA). These are two of the most common employer-provided savings accounts for healthcare costs. We will talk about how they can save you money, their unique features, and the risks of each type of account. By the end of this post…

  • Employee Benefits

    Is your 401(k) plan good or even decent?

    Is your 401(k) plan a good deal or a rip-off? How do you know if you have a good 401(k) plan at work? What should you do if you don’t have a good plan? These are important questions. Not everyone has access to a great retirement plan with low costs, diversified investment options and a generous employer match. We will go through some questions you should ask when reviewing your retirement plan at work, and give you some ideas on what to do if you don’t like your options. Does your 401(k) offer matching employer contributions? One of the most important questions to ask is whether or not your employer…

  • Employee Benefits,  Investing

    Why Investment Fees Matter

    Do you have an extra $186,000 lying around? If I told you you could have $186,000 more in your portfolio after 30 years by simply by reducing your investment expenses, would you be interested? I would! When it comes to investing, fees matter. Whether you invest with an advisor, do-it-yourself or invest exclusively in a company retirement plan, the fees you pay to invest your money directly affect how much you end up with over time. You should always be able to easily tell what you are paying to invest your money. This article will explain some of the reasons why mutual fund fees matter to your bottom line. Index…

  • Employee Benefits

    How to Make the Most of Your Employee Benefits

    Chances are that every year you get a packet from your HR department telling you it’s time to sign up for your employee benefits for the next year. Which you promptly recycle. Many people do not fully understand how to take advantage of their employee benefits. As a result, employees leave some good options on the table. Don’t be like most people! Your employee benefits can be a great opportunity for you to improve your wealth health. Here are some of my top tips for making the most of your employee benefits. Health Insurance  Which health plan is the best for you really depends on how often you go to…